When developing your digital services – web, intranet, extranet, e-commerce, web applications – we are your independent adviser. Our job is to envision the big picture, to design the service concept, to find suitable technologies and to guide your project from ideas to implementation.
Prestudy and project preparation
In the prestudy phase, we create a sustainable base for the development of digital services.
We’ll find answers to the following questions: What kind of online service would be worth building? Who is it built for? How does it benefit us? What kind of technical architecture does it require? What kind of projects do we need for implementation? In which phases do we proceed with the projects? How much would the implementation work cost? How should we buy the planning and implementation work?
Price tag for the prestudy project is 25 000 – 60 000 euros.
During the prestudy, we chart the business objectives for your online service and conduct the necessary studies for understanding the user needs. Using interviews and surveys, and analyzing background material (for example user statistics, market reports), we’ll vision a successful concept idea for the new digital service.
The concept idea is documented as a communicable preliminary concept design; the service promise is put in words, expected benefits are clarified, and conceptual ideas are refined into service models. For demonstrating the desirable user experience, it can be roughly modelled.
To enable evaluation of required technologies, the key contents and functionalities of the online service are identified.
When the preliminary service concept for the new digital service is clarified, the architectural options for it can be outlined. Pros and cons of various options are assessed, and the most suitable overall architecture is outlined.
A body of online services may include different kinds of digital solutions and service channels that are implemented using different technologies. Global architecture draws a chart of the technology platforms (Content Management Systems, eCommerce systems, portal systems, Social Media platforms, tailor-made system etc.) suited for each channel.
Suitable implementation technologies for the global architecture are analyzed: they are weighed up considering their features, editor experience, total cost of ownership, and availability of potential implementation partners.
Your digital service can be a single web site, a set of online tools on intranet, or a body of online services, consisting of several service and e-commerce channels. In all cases the implementation of the service requires several separate projects, in which the features of the digital service(s) are specified, implementation partners are tendered, content production is coordinated, and roll-out is managed.
To control and anticipate the prerequisites of your digital project, a roadmap is drawn in the prestudy: phasing, scheduling and responsibilities required for implementing the digital service are defined in more detailed program plan.
Getting ready to manage the upcoming program till the completion also requires preparation to costs and human resources. In a prestudy, rough estimates are made about the needed budget for the entire digital program, and what kind of contribution must be found either from own personnel or from external resources.
For choosing the ideal system platform, and for successful tendering, the concept idea of a new digital service must be elaborated further as a requirements specification document. An extensive program may consist of several implementation projects that need to be specified and tendered individually.
North Patrol elaborates your service concept, designing contents, user experience, functionalities and managers’ tools following the goals identified in the prestudy phase. User experience can be validated using wireframe models and prototypes, and functionalities will be detailed as technical specifications. After identifying the requirements, it is possible to point the optimal technology solutions and platforms.
The price for a requirements specification will be about 10 000 – 35 000 euros.
Concept design elaborates the objectives, contents, user experience, and functionalities of the new online service. Outlines for design will be documented in a reader-friendly way, consisting of these:
- Overall picture of the service, target groups, and service objectives
- Content structure, navigation mechanisms, service paths
- Special features of user experience
- Standard elements of user interfaces
- Content types and their elements
The designs can be demonstrated using wireframe models, illustrations, or clickable prototypes. Using the models, the design idea can be presented and validated with larger audiences, and the concept can be tested in practice.
After service design, it is time to choose the optimal platform for the service, and the specifications of its features need to be adjusted to meet the capabilities of the chosen platform.
The requirements specification document details the service concept, principles for user experience, content types, functionalities, conditions for technical solutions, and integrations to other systems.
North Patrol creates high-quality documentation describing the most essential solutions for the digital service: this documentation enables apt project proposals, and it serves as a product backlog in the implementation project.
Purchase of an implementation project is also a beginning of a partnership for many years ahead. Comparing the proposals, it is necessary to weigh out the competence of the partner, lifecycle of the proposed solution, quality of the project methods, and the cooperation model, too – in addition to the costs.
North Patrol’s support in bidding saves your time and nerves. Our decades of experience in procurement of digital services helps to ensure that your project will get the ideal implementation partner with a reasonable price. With our help the bidding will be easy and fair – also within the procurement law of public sector.
Bidding project is typically preceded by prestudy and/or specification of requirements, but as such, the estimated price tag of bidding will be 10 000 – 20 000 euros.
A good RFP nails the requirements for competences, procedures, tasks, methods, and outcomes expected from the potential implementation partners. The FRP needs to be adjusted to the selected bidding model and the character of potential bidders.
North Patrol’s long experience has moulded our RFP package into a comprehensive documentation that leads to comparable and similar scale proposals from suited partner candidates. The RFP brings out the requirements for the partner, the required format of proposals, and the forms to fill for fair comparison of the proposals.
We can also help with practical arrangements for kicking the bidding off effectively: we can send the RFP on your behalf to relevant candidates, or we can publish the procurement notice on Hilma system.
The proposal comparison by North Patrol provides systematic and objective assessment of the proposals. Bidders are weighed using relevant criteria and the proposals are methodically scored.
Our recommendation of the best bidders is based on this calculatory and methodical comparison. When evaluating the proposed technical solutions, we are supported by our knowledge of hundreds of proposals we have read earlier.
We can attend meetings with bidders to test their arguments and ask complementary questions on subjects that have been left ambiguous in the proposals.
When we recommend a partner, our justifications withstand critical review: when we score the proposed technical solutions, quality factors and costs, our views are based strictly on facts. Our unambiguous partner recommendations make it easy for the management to endorse the decisions, without the fear of the Market Court.
In addition, we can help with contract negotiations, or we can proofread the proposed contract and make sure that its terms and procedures meet the industry standards, and are reasonable for the customer.
Support for implementation phase
When an implementation partner is found and the site building begins, a stack of challenging tasks will pile on the customer’s table: The partner’s implementation work must be steered and managed, cooperation with other parties (advertising agencies, news agencies, photography agencies etc.) must be done and inhouse content planning & production must be coordinated.
The experts from North Patrol can help the customer run the project through in an effective, goal oriented and successful way. Our consultancy can be booked hourly or with a fixed quota (for example 1-2 days per week).
For the customer, running and managing a web project is a rare task. Best practices for it are not necessarily known by heart, so North Patrol can help with the project management tasks:
- Planning project phases and practices
- Allocating use of resources and budget
- Defining tasks and responsibilities, organizing work
- Monitoring project workload, budget and schedule
- Preparing and attending steering group meetings
- Quality control of the implementation partner’s work
In demanding projects, the experienced experts from North Patrol can be appointed to the role of product owner to steer the technical implementation.
When North Patrol has been your partner in designing the concept for your new digital service, consultants have internalized the goals. conditions and priorities of you business case. These principles are worth crystallizing to your implementation partner, and to the whole project group, as well.
Our experts can be used as interpreters in versatile collaboration, such as:
- Project kickoff meetings
- Design workshops for functional specification or technical planning
- Planning the implementation methods or technical solutions
- Reviewing project documents
- Steering group meetings
- Implementation sprint review meetings
Especially the kickoff meeting facilitated by North Patrol can guide the project group into finding a mutual understanding on the essentials of the project: key points of the concept, priorities of implementation work, and the most important objectives of the digital service.
After the MVP deployment has been ensured, we can plan the transitional steps towards a governance model for continuous development.
If you need effective support for content planning, North Patrol’s consultants can be used as hired guns for advancing your content strategy in tasks such as:
- Facilitating content planning, content creation and content providers’ work
- Outlining and designing content structures, page models and copy texts
- Training the content providers (concept principles, website content writing, editing tools)
- Planning the meta data model and taxonomies
- Coordination of editorial work (for example translations, photographing, videos)
- Participation in content creation
Lighten your own workload and ensure the quality of the end result by outsourcing design and management tasks to an external expert!
When North Patrol has participated in setting the objectives for your digital service, we can effectively assess the quality of the outcome. Our experts can conduct a goal-oriented evaluation of the quality of the online service, focusing on e.g. communications, usability, accessibility, stability, or performance.
Examples of our quality assurance instruments:
- Heuristic evaluation of usability
- Small-scale usability tests
- Accessibility testing based on the objectives set in the design phase
- Expert evaluation of accessibility related risks
- Technical quality assessment
- Planning and coordinating acceptance tests
Instead of nitpicking about minor details, our quality assessments concentrate on the big picture of user experience, and the findings are reported as practical suggestions for improvements.
694 successful projects
We have helped hundreds of companies of versatile industries, of non-profit sector or of public sector. Including web sites, intranets, extranets and e-commerce.
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